Book club16th April 2015
Am in Miami for one night and it turns out they have the internet here, so I can tell you ALL to go and buy Jon Ronsons’s new book, So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed.
It is EXCELLENT. Even better than The Psychopath Test, his 2012 book.
In a nutshell, for the past three years, the British journalist has been travelling all over the shop (mostly in America) talking to those who have been very publicly shamed, largely online thanks to Twitter. Eg. Justine Sacco, who is most routinely referred to as ‘the woman who tweeted that AIDS joke’. Max Mosley also pops up, as it were. It is a thoughtful, funny and v honest look at how and why social media whips us all up into an indignant fury on an increasingly regular basis, as well a historical look back at mob rule.
It is so brilliant that I started it on the flight, and then finished it in the two hours that I stood in the Miami immigration queue, having been screeched at in Spanish by an official wearing a high-vis vest and ordered to put my phone away.
‘Fine,’ I thought, sliding my phone deliberately slowly into my pocket and narrowing my eyes at her. ‘Don’t even think about publicly shaming me, you witch. I will put my phone away, but then I’m going to stand here and read my book in a casual and high-handed manner which suggests I’m totally cool about being shouted at in a line of several hundred people.’
I then kept lol-ing at various bits of the book to stress to everyone around me how COMPLETELY RELAXED I was about this humiliation, so I’m grateful to Jon Ronson for helping me through that too.